Freedom Ride leads to home help for POWPublished 12:30pm Friday, September 14, 2012
When a local woman planned a motorcycle ride in Alexander City Saturday to honor veterans, she never imagined it would lead her to meet a 90-year-old World War II prisoner of war and help organize improvements to the POW’s house.
“I never in a million years expected for the event to take a turn the way it has,” said Diane Sharpe, Freedom Ride organizer. “It’s awesome – I can’t describe it.”
Sharpe said she and another event organizer had hoped to involve a POW in their ride to honor veterans but hadn’t been able to find one. When Salvacion Myco McWhorter called her, Sharpe went out to meet her. It wasn’t long before she had contacted Home Depot about helping out with some things at McWhorter’s house.
“There are so many veterans that we don’t know about and have no way of finding,” said Pat Bull, Team Depot captain, who came to see what they could do for McWhorter.
Bull said she plans to work with store manager Matt Geitgey to see what they can do, working with the United Way as their nonprofit partner.
“Everything that’s done through Home Depot has to be done through nonprofits,” Bull said. “I’m going to submit a request for the washer and dryer and see what we can do for the bathroom.”
The washer was one of the only problems McWhorter mentioned.
“My washing machine does not work,” McWhorter said. “I have to wash by hand.”
But although McWhorter talked about finding a way to go to Home Depot and purchase things for her home, she was surprised when Bull told her they would give it to her.
“I just feel I don’t deserve it,” McWhorter said.
McWhorter was 19 as a POW in the Philippines, where she was held for two months. She said they didn’t have to fight their captors to escape.
“We just outwitted them,” McWhorter said. “It was God’s plan that I would go with the group that was being captured so that I could be God’s instrument for getting out.”
When Sharpe came to meet McWhorter, McWhorter had a request – to ride a motorcycle Saturday. Sharpe said they are going to let her ride one for the last leg of the trip, if it won’t endanger her health.
“I want to see if I can ride on that motorcycle,” McWhorter said. “The only thing is, I don’t know how to get on … (but) I want my fellow veterans to know I am with them.”